Exceeding Expectations: How the Blue Jackets Third Line Shined In Their Season-Opening Win

By Paul Berthelot on October 5, 2018 at 1:58 pm
Columbus Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky skates during warm-ups.
Sergei Belski – USA TODAY Sports

Talk about exceeding expectations.

There wasn’t much expected from the Blue Jackets' third line of Josh Anderson, Brandon Dubinsky and Boone Jenner. For all intents and purposes they were a glorified fourth line –some speed, some skill, but predominately big bodies that crash and bang.

They were so much more than that in Friday's 3-2 OT win over the Detroit Red Wings. It was impressive stuff.

They still laid their hits:

And went to the net hard:

Anderson, Dubinsky and Jenner were the best players in this game at 5-on-5. They moved the needle when they were on the ice and finished with the three highest Corsi percentages on the team, all at or above 75%. They were on the ice for seven high-danger chances for and just two against.

Dubinsky, who looked leaner and faster on the ice, was the catalyst for that line.

Dubinsky was the driving force behind this line but Anderson and Jenner are no slouches themselves. Jenner had six shots on goal and eight total shot attempts, Anderson had five and seven, again all of this coming at 5-on-5. The Blue Jackets had 10 high-danger scoring chances, with Anderson and Jenner combining for seven of them. On any given night, any player on this line could have an impact on the game.

John Tortorella had some high praise for the group, as well:

“That was a really good line. They played really well.”

He also liked the tenacity they played with.

“If we’re going to get better as a team, I do think we need more grit.”

The line blender was out for Tortorella in the third period last night, but after the performance of this trio, it’s safe to say they'll be staying together for the foreseeable future.

[Stats courtesy of Natural Stat Trick]

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